Chocolate or Aspirin?

6 Jun

Chocolate sometimes gets a bad rap, but there have been studies that chocolate has many health benefits.  Below are just a few of the wonderful reasons that we all should partake in an afternoon chocolate treat.

  • Chocolate contains phenylethylamine, a mild mood elevator.
  • The cocoa butter in chocolate contains oleic acid, a mono-unsaturated fat which may raise good cholesterol.
  • The flavanoids in chocolate may help keep blood vessels elastic.
  • Chocolate increases antioxidant levels in the blood.
  • The carbohydrates in chocolate raise serotonin levels in the brain, resulting in a sense of well-being.[1]

So where can you get some chocolate? Here are some of my favorites:

Vosges

http://www.vosgeschocolate.com/

I first went to Vosges with my cousins in Chicago, and then I discovered this wonderful store is also in New York. This chocolate shop has a lot of unique treats like  Mo’s Milk Chocolate Bacon Bar (Applewood bacon + alderwood salt + deep milk chocolate)  and Barcelona Exotic Candy Bar (Hickory smoked almonds + Fleur de Sel sea salt + deep milk chocolate.) Can’t visit in person? Don’t worry you can order online.

Max Brenner

http://www.maxbrenner.com/

Max Brenner was founded in Israel in 1996. I first discovered the chocolate when they opened a store in New York City in 2006. More  than a chocolate shop, Max Brenner boutiques are full scale restaurants. I have to admit I think the food is only ok but the desserts are scrumptious.  You might be tempted to get the Chocolate Pizza (warm thin pastry topped with melted chocolate chunks, melted marshmallows and candied hazelnut crunchy bits) but I suggest the Intense Double Chocolate Fudge Cake or one of Max’s Fresh Baked Cookies.

 Max Brenner has multiple locations throughout the northeast and a great website where you can buy all of his wonderful chocolate goodies. Bonus: the website has great gifts for all the chocolate lovers in your life.

Lavain Bakery

http://store.itsallaboutthecookie.com/

I have had a lot of cookies in my day, but nothing is better  than a chocolate chip cookie from the Lavain Bakery. A New York Times Article declared that the bakery has “possibly (the) largest, most divine chocolate chip cookies in Manhattan”.[2] I couldn’t have said it better myself. If you have the opportunity to visit this small bake shop located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan I highly suggest you do. If not you can order these “to die for” cookies via their website. Oh and if you are looking to get me a gift, they sell gift cards. (hint hint)

Harbor Sweets

http://www.harborsweets.com/

Last but not least is the famous chocolate shop founded in Salem, MA called Harbor Sweets They are famous for their “Sweet Sloops” which are described by Harbor Sweets as “Sailboat shaped almond butter crunch, a mainsail and a jib of white chocolate floating in dark chocolate with pecan spindrift washing her sides.” I describe them as “awesome sweet deliciousness”. If the sweet sloops aren’t your thing they have many other treats such as their Marblehead Peppermint Mints and Harbor Lights European Style Truffle. Harbor Sweets are sold in more than 15 states and can also be bought on their website.

So in conclusion we have learned that chocolate is yummy, good for you and can be bought worldwide.  If you have other places that you love, please share! Maybe I will even do another taste test. I am sure my panel will be happy to oblige.




[1] http://www.annamariavolpi.com/chocolate01.html

[2] http://www.nytimes.com/1997/10/22/dining/temptations-from-a-small-bakery-a-virtual-mountain-of-a-cookie.html?scp=2&sq=Levain%20bakery&st=cse

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